Creating a 1,000-day Plan with Calendars

There was a time when I could remember all the important stuff in my life by doodling on scraps of paper or post-it notes. This system soon became a mess as my desk was a sea of paper notes which had a life of its own. Luckily I got my first mobile phone and suddenly I could plan my day like a professional. Goodbye post-it notes, hello productivity apps like Calendars by Readdle. My friends who had memories like treasure troves, packed with dates and tasks, no longer had the upper hand over me. I now felt in control, empowered and less stressed.

Then yesterday I read an article that left me overwhelmed… again. Have you heard about the 1,000 day calendar? A favorite with CEOs, it's being talked up as the best way to make transformational changes that bring about long-term rewards. It basically means sitting down and mapping out about 3 years worth of actions to rocket your life forward. These CEOs are using Calendar apps to map a series of plans, events and reminders to set them on the path to success. Sounds exhausting. But there is something quite cool about following the framework of long-term goal setting.

Finding your place in space and time

The term Chronotope may not be what you were expecting to come across in an article about how to set goals, but stick with me. When I was younger I was often unable to see my life in the future. I couldn’t piece together my past experiences, current plans and my yet-to-be-accomplished goals. I preferred to live my life by the words of John Lennon who said “Life is what happens to you while you are making plans.

The basic theory about chronotope is that you can better manage your current experiences to guide your future. Chronos refers to "measured time"; Topos is "space." This is more about identifying the relationship between time and space in their inseparable unity. I explain it to my friends as being able to live my life today while also seeing my life from up above in 3 years! It's an incredibly powerful concept when you boil it down to this core principle.

Forward-thinking is well worth your attention

Calendars are used to find a proper balance between being in the moment and stepping out of it to plan ahead. Think of it as having a map of your day: time, to-do’s, meetings, birthdays, reminders, and all those other important things. You see when and how your life happens around you. Much more effective than my ‘post-it note’ approach to planning my daily life.

Then you must look ahead, set that big goal and continue to use your calendar app to create habits to realize your future life. Now that everything is more connected and clear you see the relationship between today and tomorrow. Bakhtin wrote a lot about the subject of chronotope and would probably be offended at how I’ve over-simplified his theory. But until you get that relationship figured out you're always doomed to struggle with taking on goals or New Year resolutions that won’t fizzle out after a few weeks. There is an inter-dependency and one can’t succeed without the other. 

Let’s figure out how some features can integrate into your life to make your days far away feel more achievable.

1. First, map today

Adding and editing events in the Calendars iOS app or Calendars for Mac is very easy: choose the day and tap the plus (+) button at top right corner. Or by making use of Natural Language Input, I can quickly drop in “Meet Jane at 5 pm on Wednesday” and Calendars has everything covered.

Calendars for iPhone is the perfect way to have time in your pocket and control everything on the go, plan big goals, and optimize your schedule and tasks better in a more focused environment, working on a laptop or desktop computer.

In the morning or evening, enveloped in silence, you can hear yourself and concentrate on your goals. I pay attention to every detail describing how I plan to run a marathon. I write that I want to buy sneakers, sign up for a gym and make a training plan. This gives me the feeling that I am already halfway there, even if I haven't trained. I fill in the slots in my Calendars on my Mac, and all my to-dos sync with the calendars on my phone.

I also have some things that I frequently do but not regularly at a fixed time. That’s where the Shortcuts feature comes into play. Shortcuts let me fill in the empty calendar slots with a tap when I feel that “Yes, now I have time for that.” To do so, I built an activities list, which includes ballet classes, language lessons, reading, work, house cleaning, and even 25-min procrastination. Everything I love or hate but must be doing. By having the list at hand, when I need, I drag and drop my shortcuts into my timeline. Tap by tap I map out my day!

2. Begin to feel more in control

Imagine a day when you forget nothing and are never late. While the latter is not in out control, we can certainly help with the first one; Calendars lets you drag tasks from your To-Do list from the sidebar and drop them in your calendar at a specific time and day. It's like creating something like a recipe for your day.

And like each perfect recipe with a perfect proportion of fixings, Calendars helps balance activity with leisure. Stan, our Product Marketing Manager, suggests not to mix up work tasks with personal to-do’s. He builds up lists separately. With notes for a project in the “Work” list, duties in the “Home/Family” list, and goals big and small in the “Personal” list.

For the new year, Stan suggests creating a list of your resolutions and goals.

3. Next, slowly start planning ahead

Using Shortcuts I can quickly schedule my regular activities, habits and hobbies in one tap. This is very convenient for also creating short sprints into a 1-year marathon and makes planning much easier, because I can immediately see how best to fit an extra unplanned task into my day, alongside my bigger goal. It reminded me of the game Tetris: my plans are like small bricks that make up the day.

4. Finally add some color to your plans

I’ve decided to use different colors to mark my activities, hobbies, tasks and that bigger goal. Such a step helps me to understand what plans I have for a week at a glance; 7 pink spots means I have 7 ballet classes this week; 5 green spots tell me I’ll be volunteering in a shelter, and so on.

When I know approximately what awaits me, I delve into the details of what, where, when and how much will happen. The colors are a quick gateway into my detailed plans. A shortcut that immediately brings to life what I’m doing today and how I’m planning for tomorrow.

A fable to think on

Aesop wrote a fable about an ant and a grasshopper, where a hardworking ant chastises a festive-loving grasshopper, who wasn’t worried about the cold winter, and kept singing and dancing the whole summer while the ant was stocking up food for winter. The grasshopper enjoyed living life in the moment, but at the first frost, he came to an ant, saying, “I was so busy singing that I didn't have the time.”

The fable sums up moral lessons about the virtues of planning for the future while still living for today. If the grasshopper had Calendars, he could probably find a balance between singing songs and also getting ready for winter. You may or may not be a CEO but if you're still reading you're probably considering how you can work towards a bigger goal. Productivity tools like Calendars can help you take that big leap forward without losing sight of stuff you want to do today.

LIMITED TIME OFFER: If you haven't experienced Calendars Pro we are giving you an exclusive 1 month trial of the additional features that work across your iPhone, iPad, and Mac. With Calendars Pro at your disposal, anything is possible.

Click here to go PRO with Calendars

The Readdle Team The Readdle Team

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